By Jeffery Robichaud
If you are like me, you often get so busy you sometimes overlook thanking folks at work. I’m not talking about the day-to-day thanks but the big heartfelt, “no particular thing” thanks. These thank-yous seem to generally occur at retirement and going away parties, so I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to thank someone before he leaves (even if it is only a couple weeks before).
Rich Hood serves as EPA Region 7’s Associate Administrator for Media and Intergovernmental Relations, and has worked with EPA for nine years, the last six in Kansas City. His journalism career spans more than 30 years with over 15 years in government public affairs, and he will be leaving us at the end of the month to join the ranks of the newly retired.
I’ve worked with Rich on all manner of activities throughout the years, from public meetings and presentations, to visits from Administrators, and press releases. I remember one of my first interactions with Rich was working with Casey to pitch the idea of News Where you Live, an approach to providing citizens a simple and easy way to view their news geospatially. He fully supported moving forward with our idea rather than waiting for the Agency to devise a similar approach. He felt it was important for EPA Region 7 to tell its story of accomplishments to the public we serve in as transparent and accessible manner as we could.
Rich was also there for the launch of KCWaterBug and helped us to spread the word throughout the Kansas City metro area. In fact we have been successful over the years in making sure we place information in the hands of the public to inform them of issues and concerns that are important for them to know, whether air quality on ozone alert days, emergencies, or even plain old good news.
Rich was the one who encouraged me to write as one of the two Region 7 bloggers of EPA’s original Greenversations back in 2008 (we have subsequently switched from wind to solar). His edits always added clarity and a level of succinctness which my writing generally lacks (I’m a bit of a meanderer as you can tell). Although my contributions to Greenversations tapered off over the years, he again supported the efforts of Casey and me to launch the Big Blue Thread a little less than a year ago. It was also gracious that he allowed us to write our blog using a geospatial lens and include both general science posts and highly technical GIS-related posts.
Rich and his deputy, Hattie Thomas, have assembled a fantastic team over the past few years and I look forward to continuing my work with them to “publish” the Big Blue Thread. I’m sure Rich will be quite happy to pass his red pen to someone else and rid himself of my alliteration and bad puns. Thank you, Rich! Spend your retirement reading the news instead of making it, and if you need a map, give Casey or me a call.
Jeffery Robichaud is a second generation EPA scientist who has worked for the Agency since 1998. He currently serves as Deputy Director of EPA Region 7′s Environmental Services Division.